Just before reaching San Diego County, Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) slows down and rolls past the laid-back surf town of San Clemente. Home to surfing legends, top-notch surfboard companies, the Surfing Heritage & Culture Center and the dearly departed Surfing magazine (1964–2017), this unpretentious enclave may be one of the last spots in the OC where you can authentically live the surf lifestyle. Right on, brah.
The city center is also one of SoCal's most picturesque as the sun glimmers off the ocean. Head south off PCH and follow Avenida del Mar as it winds south through San Clemente’s retro downtown district, where antiques and vintage shops, eclectic boutiques, cafes, restaurants and bars line the main drag. Keep curving downhill toward the ocean.
Further south along the coast, at the foot of Trafalgar Street, T-Street is a popular surf break, as is Trestles Beach in San Onofre State Beach.